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US Open Tennis Wheelchair Players Announced

Diede De Groot of the Netherlands celebrates defeating Yui Kamiji of Japan during the wheelchair women’s singles final match of the US Open. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE
Diede de Groot and Dylan Alcott aim to complete the Golden Slam at the US Open next month.

Players have been announced for the 2021 US Open Wheelchair Competition presented by Deloitte. The event, in its 14th year, will be held September 9-12th at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

The 2021 US Open Wheelchair Competition will feature a men’s, women’s and quad division and will include six events: men’s singles, men’s doubles, women’s singles, women’s doubles, quad singles and quad doubles. New this year will be the expansion of the quad field to eight players in a knockout format. Since its debut at the Open in 2007, the quad field had been four players competing in a round-robin tournament each year. Wheelchair tennis follows the same rules as able-bodied tennis, except that the ball can bounce twice.
Diede de Groot (NED) and Dylan Alcott (AUS) both will look to make history at the US Open. If both win gold in singles in their respective events, women’s and quads, at the Paralympics in Tokyo, plus a singles title at the 2021 US Open, they’ll each be the first athlete in wheelchair tennis history to achieve a Golden Grand Slam — claiming victory in all four Grand Slams and Paralympic Games within a single calendar year. The Paralympics will be held from August 24th to September 5th.
The field was determined by the July 19, 2021 rankings, plus the addition of one wild card per division.
Returning for a title defense on the men’s side is 25-time Grand Slam and seven-time US Open singles champion Shingo Kunieda of Japan.

Also returning will be Great Britain’s Alfie Hewett, who was the two-time defending champion before losing to Kunieda in last year’s final, 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(3). Belgium’s Joachim Gerard will bid for a third Grand Slam title in 2021 and first in New York, while Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandeza former world No. 1, will also look to claim his first US Open singles trophy. The men’s wild card recipient will be American Casey Ratzlaff, of Wichita, Kan. 

In the women’s field, top-ranked de Groot will look to hoist her fourth consecutive US Open trophy.  World No. 2 Yui Kamiji of Japan, who lost to de Groot in each of the past three US Open finals, will also be looking to claim her third title.

The field will also feature two other past champions, the Netherlands’ Aniek van Koot and Great Britain’s Jordanne Whiley, as well as world No. 9 Dana Mathewson (Orlando, Fla.), who received the wild card. 

The quad division features defending champion Sam Schröder of the Netherlands and two-time singles winner Andy Lapthorne of Great Britain, as well as world No.1 Alcott, a two-time champ himself, who lost to Schröder in the 2020 final. Three-time champion and six-time finalist David Wagner (Chula Vista, Calif.) will also be in the mix for the title. American Bryan Barten (Tucson, Ariz.) was once again awarded the wild card. 

The USTA was officially designated by the USOPC as the national governing body for the Paralympic sport of wheelchair tennis in June 2002, becoming the first Olympic national governing body to earn this recognition. As the national governing body for wheelchair tennis, the USTA manages the sport in the U.S., including the development of local programming, sanctioning of tournaments, overseeing rankings, creating and managing a high-performance program for developing elite disabled athletes and selecting teams to compete internationally for the United States.

 The wheelchair competition was first added to the US Open in 2005, with only men’s and women’s singles champions crowned. Esther Vergeer of the Netherlands, one of the all-time great wheelchair athletes who won 470 consecutive matches before retiring with the streak intact, won the inaugural women’s event, with Robin Ammerlaan, also of the Netherlands, winning the first men’s title. The US Open is scheduled August 30 through September 12th.